Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 6 months ago

What make the 1950s and 1960s better/more interesting decades to live than the last few and those preceding the 1950s and 1960s?

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ugh. I was alive in the 50s and 60s, and they were great if you were a white man who was not poor.

    If you were female, black, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, Asian, trans, gay, disabled, anti-war, pro-pot, or any other minority or oppressed group, things are much better now.

    The hippie era people think of as the 60s wasn't like that in most places but was an urban phenomenon unique to San Francisco, New York, Boston, and to lesser degrees in other big cities. It arrived in mainstream America in 1970 at the earliest.

    It's common to remember or imagine only what was good about a time gone by. But if you remember these years, you also remember

    ...the word “cancer” was a death sentence;

    ...the Catholic church held services in a language almost none of the believers could understand; heard the words ******, ****, greaser, spook, and kike every day, in conversation and in racial jokes and epithets, and thought nothing of it;

    ...birth control was entirely the man’s responsibility—and he often had to ask the pharmacist to purchase condoms;

    ...women in abusive home situations were counseled to return after the police gave him a good talking-to, since hardly any shelters existed for battered women and their children;

    ...there were no television programs that originated anywhere but New York City, and therefore no shows which resembled the lives of most Americans; shows asked questions that required knowledge (and some of the shows were rigged);

    ...girls who were interested in medicine could only be nurses;

    ...the closest thing to “fast food” was reheated left-overs;

    ...hardly anyplace sold “pizza pie” and of the few, none delivered; citizens were kept from registering and voting;

    ...most families owned a single car—and the husband took it to work daily, and drove wife and family where they needed to go evenings and weekends;

    ...TV was black and white and the ‘remote control’ was the nearest child available for channel changing; specialty television stations aimed at a particular audience (Spanish-speaking, sports lovers, children) existed;

    ...a raped 15-year-old who found herself pregnant had two options: having a rapist’s baby, or having an illegal (and therefore unsafe) operation (welcome to 2019 Alabama, huh?);

    ...virtually all clothing appropriate for school or office required ironing;

    ...the wearing of practical and durable blue jeans meant you were a farmer;

    ...bras pressed the breasts into cones; didn’t have seat belts and relatively minor accidents launched people through windshields face-first, assuming they weren’t impaled on the steering column;

    ...homosexuality was not only illegal but was unacceptable everywhere, and gay men and women sometimes killed themselves when their secret lives came to light;

    ...public schools included Christian religious instruction routinely, from Bible reading to prayer, and children of other beliefs were not excused nor their beliefs acknowledged;

    ...criminal suspects had no idea they were entitled to an attorney—for free;

    ...a promising Hispanic or Negro had almost no chance for financial aid in college, dooming him or her to jobs rather than a rewarding career;

    ...women wore girdles just about every day;

    ...everybody smoked, and very few public places didn’t permit smoking—smokers lit up in movie theaters, elevators, grocery stores, college classrooms, even church;

    ...people followed only four sports (football, hockey, basketball, baseball) and the premise of “I Spy” involved athletes in another sport travelling the world, unrecognized; called their wives “the little woman” with straight faces;

    ...good Catholics didn’t even consider birth control and considered more children than they could afford God’s will;

    ...we knew very few sordid aspects about celebrities’ lives and thought their seeming glamour made them worthy objects of worship;

    ...with only a single income, taking the family to a mid-price restaurant was a special event;

    ...when a kid who couldn’t read was kept back a grade, sometimes repeatedly, despite the shame and his or her best efforts, because there was one way to teach, and if the child didn’t learn, he or she was at fault;

    ...learning disabilities were not recognized--and plenty of schools spanked or paddled kids who could not learn; with physical or mental disabilities or illnesses might live their entire lives in institutions or locked out of sight;

    ...women in Westerns were wasp-waisted, either whores or widowed ranch owners, both needing a man’s protection; and teenagers routinely made untraceable prank phone calls;

    ...styling your own hair involved sleeping on curlers, then “ratting” it to a tangled bouffant covered with a layer of smoothed-out hair, and spraying it to withstand gale-force winds;

    ...we kept our razors and changed the blades—and cut ourselves deeper and more often; the late 1960s the ideal held up to young women was Twiggy, who weighed less than 100 pounds; didn’t know anybody who looked Chinese or Mexican or Indian but talked and thought pretty much like anybody else;

    ...the best black music didn’t become a hit until a white artist recorded it;

    ...only Hispanics listened or danced to a Latin beat;

    ...the concept of judging someone by character while ignoring color was so revolutionary it frightened many people;

    ...somebody, usually the woman, had to wash dishes as many a three times each day;

    ...drying clothes meant lugging heavy baskets outdoors, stooping and stretching to hang each item on a clothesline, then hoping it didn’t rain—and made little allowance for mud underfoot, pregnancy or advanced years, kids and pets knocking down or dirtying the clean clothes hanging, winter, etc.

    ...the Mom who served hearty portions of red meat, potatoes mashed or scalloped with whole milk, butter, and plenty of salt, buttered vegetables, white-bread rolls with butter, and ice cream was largely responsible for Dad’s heart disease;

    ...the finest fighting forces in the free world relegated women who wanted to serve to hospitals and offices, and segregated soldiers of color;

    ...a significant portion of the people who made it to their sixties had full dentures which didn’t fit well;

    ...regardless of the day’s anticipated activities, from gardening to housework to nursing to supervising a playground, grown women rarely wore pants;

    ...Mexican, Italian, and Chinese food were unknown to most Americans;

    ...correspondence and major school papers were typed on a machine which did not permit invisible correction of errors;

    ...unless you had a ditto machine or mimeograph, carbon paper allowed you to make only four increasingly poor copies of any document;

    ...banks were open only from ten to three—good luck if your lunch hour at work was too short to let you get there during business hours;

    ...aging relatives unable to care for themselves lived with family, regardless of dementia, incontinence, or the need for round-the-clock care and supervision;

    ...the family car got only a dozen miles to the gallon, at best; had to go out to enjoy high-quality ice cream;

    ...nobody you knew ate yogurt—and it was spelled ‘yoghurt’;

    ...there was no way to get cash in the middle of the night for an emergency; gangs did not have handguns but made ‘zip guns’; could not contact someone who was away from the telephone at home or work, or who was traveling;

    ...airmail cost extra;

    ...patients had little access to medical information about their own illnesses beyond what their doctors told them;

    ...a kid in your neighborhood had polio and was forever impaired;

    ...nobody you knew would admit to having had, or even considering, an abortion--a dangerous procedure, since it might be performed by someone with only minimal qualifications under conditions far from sterile; knew a kid whose dad beat him with a belt—all the time;

    ...unless you were rich, you shared a phone line with neighbors, and if they eavesdropped there wasn’t much you could do about it;

    ...cellophane “Scotch” tape was so shiny it always showed, and it yellowed after a few years;

    ...your mom, your aunts, your sister, even your grandma, might be the victim of an obscene phone call; felt free to tell their wives how to dress and what to think, and most wives complied;

    ...bars and restaurants only had a few beers on tap;

    ...families whose dad (or mom) drank the welfare money went hungry, since food stamps didn’t exist;

    ...only jazz musicians and a few movie stars did drugs, not anybody you knew, even slightly... (and lots more)

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  • 6 months ago

    We were at war prior to the 1960's.

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  • 6 months ago

    I like the idea of the vibe of the swinging sixties,but I'm not sure I'd view it as more interesting to live in than the decade I'm in.

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